Summer Is Late My Heart


Sporting Ground
Sporting Ground by Elise Asher

Moment In July

by Elise Asher (1912 – 2004)

I unsheathe a grass blade,
Drag its private sweetness through my teeth.
My limbs float backwards to a day in June,
In the vise of yellow sun and quilted ground
My brain is crushed foliage.
Though on my idling eyes are traced
Ant-trollies in the grasses
And in my drowsing ears resounds
Time’s tick through fleshless spaces
And now slack energies within me faintly stir;
Still, budge budge, I cannot budge –
The air is pitched in nooses around my torso.
The elements of freedom hold me prisoner.

Marriage does not come easily to most.   And yet it comes to most of us at least once in our lifetimes.  Elise Asher and Stanley Kunitz were married in 1957 and would remain so until her death in 2004.  For Elise it was her second marriage and for Stanley it was his third.  Kunitz was quoted as saying that relationships got in the way of his writing, but lucky for him Asher just kept getting in his way.  Kunitz was the more celebrated of the two in terms of poets, but both were accomplished artists, Elise blending words and images throughout her long career and illustrating some of her husband’s poems on canvas.

Touch Me was published in 1995 when Kunitz was 90 years old.  I love the ending of this poem; “Darling do you remember the man you married? Touch me, remind me who I am.”

Stanley Kunitz and Elise Asher

Touch Me

by Stanley Kunitz (1905 – 2006)

Summer is late, my heart.
Words plucked out of the air
some forty years ago
when I was wild with love
and torn almost in two
scatter like leaves this night
of whistling wind and rain.
It is my heart that’s late,
it is my song that’s flown.
Outdoors all afternoon
under a gunmetal sky
staking my garden down,
I kneeled to the crickets trilling
underfoot as if about
to burst from their crusty shells;
and like a child again
marveled to hear so clear
and brave a music pour
from such a small machine.
What makes the engine go?
Desire, desire, desire.
The longing for the dance
stirs in the buried life.
One season only,
and it’s done.
So let the battered old willow
thrash against the windowpanes
and the house timbers creak.
Darling, do you remember
the man you married? Touch me,
remind me who I am.

Published by

A Sonnet Obsession

I am a life-long Minnesotan who resides in Minneapolis. I hope you enjoy my curated selection of sonnets, short poems and nerdy ruminations. I am pleased to offer Fourteenlines as an ad and cookie free poetry resource, to allow the poetry to be presented on its own without distractions. Fourteenlines is a testament to the power of the written word, for anyone wanting a little more poetry in their life.

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